Review: L.A. Guns – The Devil You Know
If The Dirt doesn’t kickstart a glam metal resurgence, it may never come. That won’t stop bands like L.A. Guns from continuing to carry the torch for the sleazy goodness of the Sunset Strip. On new album The Devil You Know, the band takes us where the down boys go with a formidable collection of rock songs that sound fresher than many of the stale acts populating the modern rock charts. Rather than playing out their years as a heritage act trudging through overpriced summer package tours, L.A. Guns sound fully committed to adding new music to the glam metal canon.
The surprising 2017 album The Missing Peace found Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis together again after many confusing incarnations of the band with various members. Picking up where the last one left off, The Devil You Know moves into heavier territory at times but the band sounds their best when the guitars shimmy their hips on songs like “Stay Away” and “Loaded Bomb”. In 1989, these songs might have triggered comparisons to Aerosmith but a lot has changed over the last thirty years and L.A. Guns are rocking a lot harder than the boys from Boston have in quite some time.
It wouldn’t be a proper glam metal album without a soaring ballad and L.A. Guns make us wait until the end of the record to deliver “Another Season In Hell”. The emotional arc of the hair ballad remains a scientific mystery but the head begins to bob when the drums kick in and you’re reaching for a lighter when the chorus takes off. It is a fitting end to a raucous album that proves beyond a doubt that L.A. Guns are one of the last great protectors of a music scene that was always more than just the juvenile antics of some misfits, even if that is what makes for entertaining films.